Meet Cellist–Nan-Cheng Chen

“Be a cellist,” said Nan-Cheng Chen, when asked about his dream. His voice was calm but also revealed his passion and determination towards music.

On his recent concert tour at Carnegie Hall, the NY Concert Review said: “Mr. Chen is a natural musician, who plays with a beautiful, singing tone”. Cellist Nan-Cheng Chen earned his Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School, and is now a Masters candidate. Chen took on piano at the age of six and cello at the age of seven: “My first concert experience was at a cello recital. I was extremely touched by it and therefore I went on the stage at the end of the concert and told the cellist that I wanted to learn. A few days later, he showed up in my house and gave me my first ever cello lesson!”

After elementary school, Chen came to the United States to study music. His first stop was Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, where he studied for three years. Seeking more exposure to classical music, Chen then moved to Boston, where he began to win music prizes and gained recognition as a cellist and experience soloing with orchestras such as Metro-West Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica, and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. He also performed on NPR’s “From the Top”.

In 2006, Chen enrolled in the renowned Juilliard School in New York City to further his music education. His life at Juilliard gave Chen the opportunity to learn from his peers and interact with other musicians and professors, such as his cello teacher Joel Krosnick, the cellist in the Juilliard String Quartet. Krosnick taught Chen to realize his strengths, weaknesses, and personality to help him become the best musician he can be.

Chen regularly gives recitals and collaborates with professional symphony orchestras worldwide. “I know myself and the ways I play the cello. Practicing for a concert trains me to reach the highest level of my playing. I then know where my limits are and can practice to do better next time.” In addition to solo music, Chen also immerses himself in chamber music. In 2010, he founded the New Asia Chamber Music Society (NACMS) to gather professional musicians who are serious about chamber music and love to share. They debuted together in April 2011 at Carnegie Hall. The concert made a big splash both in New York City and in Taiwan, where it drew wide coverage on major media pages. Chen’s 2011-2012 season performances include collaborations with dance companies, chamber music, and international competitions that took him to Philadelphia, Boston, Banff, Taipei, Paris, Washington D.C. and his hometown of New York.

When not playing the cello, Chen enjoys the dynamic arts and cultural scene in New York City. Chen visits galleries and live performances of music and dance regularly. He also enjoys exploring good food from different cultures, especially Japanese food and recommends the Unaju and Chawan-mushi from Sushiden N.Y. More of Chen’s musical world and upcoming performances can be found at www.cellistncc.com.